Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to helping someone treat symptoms of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CPT can be helpful for many different types of trauma, including childhood neglect, childhood sexual abuse, chronic childhood verbal abuse, childhood physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual assault. Many times when we go through something traumatic, we encounter an experience that is beyond our capacity to understand what happened and why. Our mind emphatically attempts to protect us from going through something like this again. However, being shaken by what we have just endured, it is difficult for us to think clearly and logically about what happened. Often, we end up embracing extreme beliefs as a way to cope and protect our self from any future trauma. This is often where people struggle with self-blame. Other times our thinking post trauma can lead to extreme conclusions about others (“all men are out to use you,”) about situations (“I will never go out after a certain time again,”) or about ourselves (“I have to make everybody happy or I will be hurt again”). When we make these extreme rules, we might create a wall between us and danger, but unfortunately less harmful things (or even helpful things) get stuck on the other side of our rules too. This is where someone might struggle to get behind the wheel after a car accident, or struggle to date in a healthy way after an abusive relationship.
CPT helps you understand what “rules” your mind has created in response to any trauma you have endured. With a therapist trained in CPT, we can identify helpful beliefs and rules to continue keeping you safe yet functioning to your upmost. With CPT, we will also identify the new beliefs and rules that are not helpful or don’t actually keep you safer. In fact, they often end up diminishing your quality of life. At the end of CPT, people often report feeling more clear headed. Their trauma related symptoms may be reduced, and some symptoms may go away entirely. If they had PTSD, their symptoms no longer meet criteria for this diagnosis. People generally feel less afraid and feel more control over their lives again. If you are interested in trying CPT for trauma or symptoms of PTSD, reach out to our CPT specialists for more information.